Scared of insulin


(Jm1977) #1

I’m four years into T1 and I seem to be hitting a block. On the pump, my infusion set gets kinked easily (usually it ends up in muscle- low BMI) and I end up changing it. It also hurts when I remove my insertion sets and when I put them in, I am terrified of hitting a vein (mine are near the surface of my skin). I occasionally inject, but again the fear of injecting into a vein by accident scares me.- this is one frustration.

  1. I’m also scared by my insulin and eat very low carb as a result. If my sugar is 100 and so give myself more than two units, I am terrified that if the food doesn’t go in quick enough, the insulin might work quicker leaving me in a bad situation. As a result I am hungry and eat low carb. I’m nervous about giving myself an amount of insulin that without food could knock me off. Three units would send me out of my mind in worry.

I feel that the way I think about insulin at the mo is really hampering my ability to have good control. I would appreciate some advice.

Thanks


(Samantha) #2

At first I was scared too but I was told that my Insulin will last up to 3 hours. I have given myself up to 14 units for one meal and im not a super slow eater but I do not eat fast either. from my understanding your insulin should be lasting up to three hours.


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #3

Hi @jm1977, if you think carefully and understand there probably isn’t any reason to “fear” insulin - just as long as you do not overdose for a meal or correction bolus. I certainly do not want to “make little” of your fear of insulin. As for hitting a vein, that is practically impossible if you inject or place infusion sets in the recommended places; I’ve had diabetes for more than 60 years and my BMI is less than 20 and I’ve never hit a vein even back in the 1950’s and 60’s when insulin needles were 1.25 and 1.5 inches long.
You say you are using a pump so I’m assuming your insulin is a “rapid-acting” such as Humalog, Novolog, Fiasp, etc. so the normal average duration in your body should be about four hours - this is average time of effective insulin working. You should determine [with assistance, to determine how long your insulin remains active in your body and enter that value [hours] into your pumps brain - that may help you from overcorrecting / under-correcting when you venture out-of-range. Yeah, occasional tubing tangles are a pain.
Eating a low-carb diet may not be the solution to your worries about insulin and the “pain” you feel; a dose of 2 units isn’t any less painful than a dose of 4 units and with more carbohydrates, as long as you have accurately calculated your insulin to carb ratios, may also afford you a margin of error. I generally eat more than 200 grams of carbohydrate every day and maintained an HbA1c in the range of 5.9 to 6.1 and led a rather active life - I didn’t slow down until my late 70’s having been diagnosed with diabetes on my 16th birthday.
Think seriously about forcing yourself into a “low-carb” diet - remember that your brain feeds only on sugars / glucose so for proper development it should not be starved. Sugar / glucose is also needed for muscle development and proper body fitness. There are valid studies, conducted over an extended period of time, that some heavily promoted low-carb diets may actually shorten life-span.


(Jm1977) #4

Thank you for responding. I’m not a fan of a low carb diet, it is the having more insulin that makes me nervous. It is reassuring to know that it isn’t going to go into action all at once, but instead work over hours. I am going up my carbs and enjoy my meals (sensibly) and dose up and see how I get on. I really appreciate your answer. It really answers questions I had for a while and gives me confidence on dosing for more carbs.

  • Thanks Again

(Nancy) #5

Hi @jm1977
I’d suggest you walk around with a notebook for a while to log - starting glucose (before a meal), # carbs consumed (grams or ounces), how much you bolused (insulin dose), a post-prandial glucose (2 hours after meal), and a ending glucose (4 hours after meal). Yep, it’s a pain in the tuchas to make so many notes, but you’ll discover what your appropriate dose should be for each meal, your carb/insulin ratio, how long your dose lasts, and what your basal limit is for that time of day.

Please, please don’t be afraid, those of us who have come before you have influenced the protocols and unless you are injecting directly into a vein intentionally, you won’t hit one. You will, from time to time, graze a capillary, and that can be messy but it’s not life threatening.

Keep on keepin’ on - we’re here for you!

To your good health -

Nancy